Industry must be vigilant to protect authenticity of halal meats

Industry must be vigilant to protect authenticity of halal meats

Processors across England must work with religious communities to safeguard product integrity amid revelations about traces of pork DNA found in halal products.

The recent horse meat scandal has highlighted some cross-species DNA carryover when the same processing lines are used for different species.

EBLEX has said the red meat sector is mindful of the potential for concern and is urging all those involved in the halal sector to develop mechanisms to ensure there is no cross-species contamination, even at the smallest trace level.

“Good practice and working with ethnic communities can help avoid this type of issue,” said Phil Hadley, senior regional manager for EBLEX.

“The horse meat scandal has brought into sharp focus the integrity of supply chains and proteins being present in products but not listed as ingredients. The secondary issue is where forensic levels of a second species have been found in some meat products.

“The FSA believes that trace elements of less than one per cent of other proteins are acceptable in some cases, but this is clearly not the case when dealing with religious communities. The halal sector is one example where nothing less than 100 per cent product integrity must be maintained, and there are other faith groups also affected by this.

“We are urging the processing sector to be mindful of this problem and work with communities to ensure they do not risk the integrity of fresh meat.”

In plants which process meat for the halal and other markets on the same lines, where possible, product destined for religious outlets should be completed first and the whole line cleaned down thoroughly at the end of the day, with testing undertaken to ensure no residue is left.

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